When it comes to pastries, nobody does it better than the French.
Sure, we have cronuts, but who do you think invented the namesake croissant and doughnut anyway (actually, they call them beignets, but whatev)?
Since the days of Marie Antoine Carême (1784-1833), the world's first celebrity chef, the French have been churning out delicate and elaborate pastries fit to serve even the most distinguished palates. Carême cooked for Napolean, George IV, and gourmand Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord.
Although the average layperson is more than happy to throw a Krispy Kreme in his mouth, it's nice to indulge those sugar cravings with something worth the calories.
South Floridians now have an authentic French option at Patrick Lézé Palm Beach.
Lézé opened the pâtisserie with his wife, Elodie, and partner Thierry Beaud in early November.
A master patisserie, Lézé underwent extensive culinary training and certification in his native France -- to open your own shop over there, you must be a practicing baker for years before taking a weeklong certification test.
In addition to fresh-baked breads and croissants, the patisserie serves delicate desserts like eclairs; macarons; Napoleans, thin layers of puff pastry between sweet pastry custard; Saint Honore, puff pastry with pastry cream, cream puffs dipped in caramel; house-made chocolates; and truffles.
The shop also offers specialty cakes by order as well as holiday specials like gingerbread houses, buches de noel, and kings cake.
In addition to sweet treats, the shop offers coffees, teas, and a selection of savory sandwiches, like the croque monsieur ($6.50) with salad; salmon ($10.50), lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese, egg, salmon, red onion, mayo with chips; paté ($8.50) with French pickles; salads like the niçoise ($10.50), lettuce, tomatoes, eggs, tuna, cucumber, red onions, black olives, anchovies; Italian ($8.50) with lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella, pesto, and optional prosciutto ($1.50); and quiche.
Lézé has been operating at the same location for the past five years -- the shop was formerly called Champs Elysee -- but this new incarnation is the result of a rebranding with Beaud.
Beaud, a French native, discovered the old bakery with the opening of PB Catch just down the street. While searching for a new place to get his morning pastry, he stumbled into the bakery and was blown away by the quality.
Shortly after, Beaud and Lézé began talking about expanding the business together. They started moving forward with the plans a year ago but ran into some complications when Lézé was diagnosed with cancer in July 2012.
He underwent treatment here, but when the cancer reappeared the following October, he decided to return to France; he left in January 2013.
Elodie continued to run the shop until July, when she joined Patrick in France.
Throughout the whole process, the Lézés and Beaud continued with the rebranding.
According to Lézé, the project kept him going.
"Patrick Lézé Palm Beach means we -- my wife and I -- are back. Struggling with cancer was a difficult time, but it helped put my life and goals into perceptive. Ask any cancer survivor. The fight refuels your life. I am reinspired to continue my baking passion and push my career further," said Leze. "And there is no better and more supportive community to return to work to."
The shop offers a wide array of items for pickup, eat-in, and special order. Special gift wrapping is available.
Patrick Lézé is located at 229 Sunrise Ave. in Palm Beach. Call 561-366-1313, or visit patrickleze.com.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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